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France in disarray as players suggest taking matters into their own hands

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Morgan Parra of France box kicks. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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France’s dismal Six Nations campaign is set to go from bad to worse as the playing squad prepares to revolt against its coaching staff.


Les Bleus suffered their worst defeat in 108 years to long-time rivals England on Saturday when they were thumped 44-8 at Twickenham, just a week after their capitulation against Wales in Paris.

The home side were up 16-0 in that clash, before a calamity of errors both on and off the field saw them succumb to a 24-19 loss at the Stade de France.

Lock Sebastian Vahamaahina, who threw an intercept pass from halfway that allowed George North to score what turned out to be the match-winning try in the 72nd minute, revealed he did know he was made team captain by coach Jacques Brunel following the substitution of regular skipper Guilhem Guirado, finding out only through referee Wayne Barnes.

The miscommunication throughout the squad portrayed in the French loss to Wales is one of many symptomatic tendencies that has seen France lose eight of their last nine matches, which has led to an all-time low ranking of 10th on the World Rugby rankings.

Veteran halfback Morgan Parra has since opened up to Midi Olympique of his team’s disdain at the way in which they’re being managed by Brunel and his associates.


“I think that we are capable of doing what the English do but are we working on this during training? I think we don’t work on it enough, even not at all,” he said in the wake of his side’s pummelling in London.

“Yet these are very simple things that are today part of high-level rugby. We can do this. But do we work on it? No.

“Before the staff, it is first for us, the players, that the situation is hard to live and it is up to us to find solutions because today we are not invited [to give our opinions],” he added, hinting at the possibility of a player revolt as the squad looks to take matters into their own hands.

They would not be the first French squad to overthrow the coach and seize power of the team in recent history.

Former coach Marc Lievremont was pushed aside by his players following their 19-14 loss to Tonga in the pool stage of the 2011 World Cup.

It was that shift of power that managed to see France through to an unlikely World Cup final appearance against New Zealand at Eden Park, while there were similar whispers that emerged of mutiny against former coach Philippe Saint-Andre after his side crashed out of the 2015 World Cup following a quarter-final thrashing at the hands of the All Blacks.

France will look to resurrect their Six Nations campaign in just under two week’s time when they host Scotland in Paris.


Jacques Brunel and Guilhem Guirado post-match conference:

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